Welcome to having everyone at home. This has been my journey for the last 5 years, and I have to say, we have come a long way. Yes, there have been many challenging days, but I like to remember how many more good days we have had…because there have been many more of those.
You are the Captain of the Ship
The path of the day usually starts with me, my attitude, my expectations, and my choices. You are steering the ship. When the passengers become difficult, your response and reactions will decide if you stay on the difficult path, or if you can get back on the right course. Believe me…I have experienced both.
I must say that choosing to homeschool your kids, and working remotely, is very different than what is going on now. So, yes, I know it is different, but I still am hoping that some things I have learned over the years might help.
I am not claiming to be an expert, and you also don’t have to agree with my beliefs for any of these tips to help you. I have been walking a different path for awhile, and I love it….but it’s not for everyone. But for now, we are all in this together, and I am praying and rooting for you to come out of this better than you can even imagine.
Honestly, I believe the most important part of all of this, is how we grow as people, parents, families, and christians.
Most importantly, I believe you should be intentional about your Perspective, lowering Expectations, having Humor, and giving EVERYONE a whole bunch of Grace.
As with everything we do, our perspective can make all the difference in the world. Don’t see this as a burden. Let go of any frustration. Stop focusing on trying to control it all. Don’t think that you are not capable. You are capable. Own it. Embrace it. Move forward with the attitude of finding the good every day. Of course they will resist. Yes, those little people will complain. Be ready. Just do your best to stay patient and calm. Connecting more. Smiling more. Hugging more. Teaching life skills and grace. Start fresh and new every single day. Don’t bring any hard feelings from yesterday into today.
Connection over Expectations
This can make a good day or a bad day. Lower your expectations. Don’t make this about how much you get done, or how well it all goes, grades, perfect attendance, or if they listen or not.
You have to just do your best. Make a plan. Be flexible with your plan. Do your best to be patient and calm. Getting upset won’t help, or make them more compliant. Promise. Be thankful for what you have. Anything productive is worth celebrating. Love each other. Respecting each other. Pay attention to how you talk to each other, and your tone. Tone matters. Words matter. Humor is good. Encouragement. Complements. Breaks. Again…connection, hugging, healthy conversations, and growing closer as a family.
I love the memes. They are seriously hysterical. Have humor with your kiddos too. Lighten up. They are not perfect. They are not supposed to be perfect. This is new, inconvenient, and unsettling for them too. Distractions are normal. Procrastinating is normal. Have them do their best.
Please please please give yourself a lot of grace, and your kids so much grace, and your spouse. Everyone under your roof needs so much grace!! Grace is a choice. Grace is intentional. If the day is starting to go the wrong way, pause and take a break. Turn on music. Go for a walk. Pray. Have a conversation about starting over. These are life skills that we can teach our kids right now. Patience, grace, connection, believing in each other, working together, kindness…are all life skills.
Honestly, homeschooling, working remotely, or any big change like this takes time. It is a transition. Those of us that chose to homeschool went through big transitions when we started. It is a learning curve. Every year, it takes time for us to get in a groove. Don’t expect it to all work right away.
Again, choosing to homeschool is very different than our current situation, but below are a few tips that have helped us.
Everyone is different. Every child is different. Every family is different. Geez…every day can be different. Be flexible. Be open. Choose to grow as a parent during this season.
Planning is helpful
- None of this planning is fancy, nor does it take hours. Keep it simple. Do it in a way that works for you.
- Take time Sunday to plan for the week. Create goals for the week for everyone. Go over the week’s goals on Sunday or Monday, whatever works best for your family.
- Morning Meeting. Again simple, casual, and uplifting. Every morning we start our day together. Usually after morning chores, and breakfast, we meet before starting the day. Our family does a devotion, conversation, and prayer. We then go over the goals and assignments for the day for each child.
- Some days we set a timer for the work period. Everyone knows there is 45-60 minutes to work on a certain assignment and we can have a break for a bit after.
- Plan breaks and getting outside every day. We enjoy our breaks outside to get fresh air.
Environment can make a difference
- Check in every hour, or half hour, to encourage, cheer them on, and see if they need help.
- Have a start time in the morning, so they have a consistent expectation of when their day starts.
- Work stations can vary. We have several options for mine. Usually mine do best at separate desks, but when they were little, we worked at the same table mostly. Put them in a place for them to be able to do their best and feel accountability. I like to be able to see the screens, because of so many easy distractions. If it isn’t working, change it.
- Be Flexible. This is the beauty.
- Adding in chores, and responsibilities throughout the week makes them feel like they are contributing. Again, complaining will happen. Stay light and keep your attitude positive. My kids help with their laundry, pulling sheets off to wash, and fixing lunch sometimes. Anything to help them feel independent, and like they are helping. Be sure to thank them and tell them how much it helps you and the family.
Energy is contagious
- Family breakfast can be fun. Make them feel how much you enjoy them being there. You can make snacks for everyone to share in the kitchen at a certain time. Any way that you can make it fun and not an inconvenience or burden.
- Rewards. Find the beauty in it and reward the kids with breaks, fun snacks, ice cream, games instead of lessons, a movie to learn from, or dance parties. Surprise them.
- Have fun. We play music as long as everyone is productive. We light candles and wear comfy clothes. We are most always barefoot.
- I always think to myself….How do you want them to look back on this time?
- I promise if you are stressed, short, super strict, serious, and annoyed by it…you will get all the same feelings from them.
For us…most important is praying together, having conversations together, being kind, learning to help each other around the house, life-skills, responsibilities, health, and doing our best. Determine what is most important to you and your family during this time, and always go back to that when you get off track. There is no right way, or wrong way. Find out what works best for you.
Remind yourself, it is not about what others are doing, comparisons, grades, attendance, social media pics and posts, or any of the other distracting ways of this world. Stay consumed with what is going on in your house. Be intentional with your people. There are no trophies or medals given out at the end of this, but the heart warming rewards and feelings inside the walls of your house can be life changing.
Please reach out if you have any other questions. I would be happy to share what we do, or what has worked for us, or just be someone to chat with and encourage you. The one constant that has absolutely helped me over the years, and I would have never survived without it….are other encouraging homeschool moms. Find your people. Encourage each other. Be understanding. Let go of judgement. Celebrate small success. Be there for each other as we struggle.
Praying for each of you and wishing you all the best.